JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Construction officially began Wednesday along Kernan Boulevard in East Arlington to widen the roadway and make the area safer for pedestrians and bicyclists.
The project, led by JTA Mobility Works, is welcome news for neighbors in the area, like John Howe.
"Especially during the school year, the traffic is horrendous," Howe said. "Sometimes the traffic is backed up from Atlantic (Boulevard) to our entrance."
Howe and his wife Barbara have lived off Kernan Boulevard near McCormick Road for about 10 years. They said the area has seen major growth in the past decade.
Kernan Boulevard will be widened along a three mile stretch (see images at bottom). Four lanes will be expanded to six between Atlantic Boulevard and Matthew Ungar Drive. Two lanes will be expanded to four lanes from Matthew Ungar Drive to McCormick Road.
The project also includes new traffic lights, sidewalks, and a multi-use path that's 12 feet wide on the east side of the road.
"We want to make sure that children safely get to school on a daily basis. Individuals who want to walk - that they'll be able to do it safely in a heavily traffic corridor," said Nathaniel Ford, CEO of JTA.
JTA said three schools and five subdivisions will be affected by the construction. It has no plans to completely shut down Kernan Boulevard during construction. Instead, crews will use road shifts and work in segments to keep traffic flowing.
Construction is expected to be completed in fall of 2020.